Mr. Power (Quebec South):
Wilfrid Hamel, mayor of Quebec City. In so far as the federal government are concerned, they did business with the constituted authorities of the city of Quebec, not with any committees set up either by the council or anybody else. The city council apparently has approved of the action of the mayor; therefore the federal government has proceeded with the expropriation of the property.
I come to another subject raised by my hon. friend, and rightly, namely the brevity of time given in the notice to evacuate.
In that connection, I received a letter from my electors telling me that they were shocked that such a short notice should have been served. On that score, my hon. friend may be right. However, I would point out to this committee that for the last two or three years these people were subject to be notified at any time to vacate the premises. I then got
in touch with government authorities here, that is with the minister, his parliamentary assistant and the chief architect, after which I sent this answer to the people who had written me:
Brousseau & Frferes I.tee,
320-324 St. Paul street,
I acknowledge receipt of your letter of May 9 in which you had enclosed a petition signed by the landlords and tenants of the premises expropriated by the Department of Public Works, for the building of a post office, on Henderson, St. Paul and Ramsay streets.
I must tell you that 1 am urging the Department of Public Works to proceed with the projected works as soon as possible. After conferring with the department officials I find that if the conclusions of your investigations were taken into favourable consideration, . . .
May I say here, by the way, that those gentlemen had been asking to be allowed six months before moving out.
. . . the work on the post office requested by the workers of the city of Quebec, as well as by their representatives, would be delayed for at least a year.
I am informed that the preliminary steps to be taken, such as the transfer of the vacated properties to the Crown Assets Disposal Corporation, the calling of tenders for pulling down those buildings by that corporation, preliminary soundings, etc., that are needed before laying the foundations, the calling for tenders for the erection of the building, required under the federal statutes, may very well take several months. Under those circumstances, it is essential that the premises be vacated as soon as possible.
I am nevertheless asking the department to extend the time-limits mentioned in the notice to vacate received by you for a period of time which, frankly, is bound to be short, and always so as not to delay the carrying out of the project.
Following this letter and my representations to the hon. Minister of Public Works, the latter agreed yesterday to extend the time-limit until the end of June. If the work is to start in October or November in Quebec, it is essential that the lots be vacated by June 30 at the latest.
That is the position. At least, that is how I understand it, and I am explaining it to my hon. friend.